Falling in love with a house means a lot of factors have to come together. It means you decided you could afford to buy it, and the bank agreed to lend you the money. It means you loved the layout, or the spacious backyard, or maybe there was a sense of warmth and comfort that the home exuded, which convinced you to get it. Plus, the home passed inspection, and a host of other potential problems never surfaced. So you bought the house.
But sometimes, after falling in love with a house, you can quickly fall into hate with your house. Maybe there is something about your home that failed to register with you when you did a walk-through or two. You just never noticed it until it became impossible to ignore.
Don't become that person. If you're looking for a new house, here are some features a home may have that you probably don't want. In other words, don't rush to buy a house if …
1. It's across the street from a school. It sounds great for anyone planning to become a parent, doesn't it? Your kids can walk to school. No running for the school bus. If they forgot their lunch, you just walk across the street. Volunteering will be easy. After-school activities, a snap. Really, what's not to love?
But Maigen Thomas, who runs the website Weddingfor1000.com, says there's a lot not to love. Last year, she and her husband bought their first home across the street from the high school.
"We thought, 'Oh, wow, nice residential area,' which is true," Thomas says. "But between the incredibly bright stadium lights, the band practice in the parking lot and the lowered speed limit between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., which makes traffic crawl, and it's impossible to exit the neighborhood and turn left … we would never, ever buy a house across from a school again."
2. You think it's in a declining neighborhood. This one is tough because nobody in their right mind would buy a house if they really believed the neighborhood would one day go south. But it's easy to picture someone purchasing a home because the prices are low and thinking more about the present than what the future might look like.
In any case, Richard Kelleher, a marketing sociologist who lives in Phoenix, bought his home 25 years ago, and it looks like he may be living there for at least another quarter-century.
Kelleher says not only is Phoenix known for heavy drug trafficking, but the part of town he lives in is also known for crime and poverty
"Thanks to the cartel, my home is now blighted," Kelleher says. "The [homeowners association] has not painted or repaired or maintained it. My complex now only has five homeowners, the rest are rented, most at $500 per month, way below their value. My neighbors are here illegally and selling drugs … I used to be able to go in the evening for walks. Now you can't even leave your home for fear of mayhem. Anyone want to make an offer?"
3. There are too many windows. Sure, natural light is appealing, and you may be someone who would live in a glass house if you could, provided you felt the neighbors wouldn't throw rocks. But you can actually have a house with too many windows, says Karla Lemmon, who lives in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and has her own business, Karimack Productions LLC, which sells a personal assistant mobile app for parents.
"I hate our windows," Lemmon says. "We have 66 windows in our house."
And they're not as awesome as you might think.
"Great views, right? Sure. But half of them face east and half face west. Heat load in the morning sun, heat load in the afternoon sun," Lemmon says. "The upstairs can get to 90 degrees easily while our air-conditioning can only get to 79."
But the kicker may be that her house was built in 1979, "so we're going to have to replace them all at some point," Lemmon says. "Oh, and nine of them are triangles or trapezoids, so they cost twice as much."
4. It's a really old home. Yes, there's something charming about that 100-year-old farmhouse, and you can find plenty of homeowners who would much rather by a house with some character than one that looks like it came off an assembly line. But there may be one negative.
"Our home was built in 1920. Because of this, it feels like it needs constant attention," says Bill Fish, founder of ReputationManagement.com and a resident of Cincinnati. He and his wife live in an older but trendy neighborhood, and much of it is wonderful, he says.
"We can walk to a square with restaurants and shops, have a yard, but are close enough to downtown that when the Reds hit a home run, we can hear the fireworks," Fish says.
But about that maintenance. "This summer, I thought I heard someone on our roof, but went outside and saw that part of our chimney had collapsed."
Fish is now having a new chimney built. He also had to have the air conditioning system revamped, but because his home was built before air conditioning, it was more complicated and complex than most homeowners go through. He says it cost him four times what a normal air-conditioning system would cost.
"Having an older home in a nice area has its perks, but the constant maintenance is something I didn’t expect to be dealing with," Fish says.
5. There's a creek next to your house. It isn't that it might flood, although it might. You might want to ask yourself if you'll mind the neighborhood kids traipsing through your yard to get to the creek. That's happened a lot to Dana Sims, a public relations professional in Columbus, Ohio.
"The trees and creek aren't on my property, but one needs to walk through my property to access it," Sims says.
She could put up a fence, but she bought the house in large part because – you guessed it – it has a scenic view of the creek.
Corrected on Oct. 2, 2015: A previous version of this story misspelled the name of Dana Sims.
Williams got his start working in entertainment reporting in 1993, as an associate editor at "BOP," a teen entertainment magazine, and freelancing for publications, including Entertainment Weekly. He later moved to Ohio and worked for several years as a part-time features reporter at The Cincinnati Post and continued freelancing. His articles have been featured in outlets such as Life magazine, Ladies’ Home Journal, Cincinnati Magazine and Ohio Magazine.
For the past 15 years, Williams has specialized in personal finance and small business issues. His articles on personal finance and business have appeared in CNNMoney.com, The Washington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, Forbes.com and American Express OPEN Forum. Williams is also the author of several books, including "Washed Away: How the Great Flood of 1913, America's Most Widespread Natural Disaster, Terrorized a Nation and Changed It Forever" and "C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America"
Born in Columbus, Ohio, Williams lives in Loveland, Ohio, with his two teenage daughters and is a graduate of Indiana University. To learn more about Geoff Williams, you can connect with him on LinkedIn or follow his Twitter page.